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FWD: Father accused of murder 'disliked ill people'

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  • Keith Armstrong
    The mother of a terminally ill boy allegedly murdered by his father told a jury today that her son was strong and that she felt her husband was intolerant
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2005
      The mother of a terminally ill boy allegedly murdered by his father
      told a jury today that her son was "strong" and that she felt her
      husband was intolerant about the care he needed.

      Andrew Wragg, 37, smothered his son Jacob, 10, with a pillow as he
      slept on July 24 last year. The former SAS soldier denies murdering
      Jacob, who suffered from the rare degenerative disease hunter
      syndrome, but yesterday admitted manslaughter on the grounds of
      diminished responsibility.

      Today, on the second day of his murder trial at Lewes crown court,
      Wragg's estranged wife Mary, 41, told the court that when Jacob was a
      baby, her husband had said he would put a pillow over the boy's face
      if he was "suffering too much".

      Philip Katz QC, prosecuting, asked if Mrs Wragg agreed with her
      husband's attitude. She said: "I did not agree. My attitude was to
      get on with caring for Jacob and to make the most of what we had."

      Speaking of the day Jacob was killed, Mrs Wragg described scenes of
      happy and normal family life with her two sons George, aged seven,
      and Jacob. She told how Jacob spent his last day watching his
      favourite videos before going to a local fair. Later the same day,
      the boys' father, smothered the sleeping Jacob with a pillow.

      Wragg dialled 999 to say he had killed Jacob at the family home in
      Worthing, West Sussex, claiming the death was a "mercy killing".

      But Mrs Wragg told the jury of nine women and three men: "He was
      strong. He was able to take into account what he did and wanted to
      do. He chose his own lunch at the fair through a mixture of lip-
      reading and signage. He even kicked off a shoe because he was getting
      annoyed with looking at one stall.

      "He had been up and running between the kitchen and the bedroom in
      the morning, stealing biscuits from the biscuit barrel ... after the
      fair he came home and sat in his room watching more TV. He was active
      and strong. He was happy. He was just Jacob."

      Mrs Wragg, who clutched a baby's dummy and pictures of the child as
      she spoke, told how the defendant went out drinking and seemed
      reluctant to look after the boys in the days before the killing.

      She had met the defendant 16 years ago in Worthing while he was in
      the Merchant Navy and she was working in pub management for
      Whitbread. Later the couple moved to work and live at a pub in
      Colchester, Essex, a garrison town where Wragg later joined the army.

      When Jacob was born on November 23 1993, Wragg was undergoing
      training to become a member of the SAS in Hereford.

      The court heard how the birth was normal but that Jacob began to have
      monthly coughs and colds for which he was later sent for tests and
      diagnosed with hunter syndrome. Wragg took leave from the army to
      join his wife as it became clear that Jacob would not live beyond his
      20s and would become deaf, dumb and blind.

      Mrs Wragg became pregnant again and on discovering the unborn child
      was also carrying the disease was advised to have a termination. The
      court was told how, after the abortion, the couple's relationship
      began to fall apart.

      Mrs Wragg said the defendant lost his SAS badge following "an
      incident" in Harrogate and left the army, taking a job in
      Northampton. At the same time, Mrs Wragg moved to Worthing to be
      nearer her husband's family.

      Mrs Wragg said: "He got very stressed out. He got very cross with the
      doctors and nurses if they were not doing things in a certain way. He
      just disliked hospitals and ill people."

      When Wragg returned from Iraq in July 2004, after three and half
      months working as a security guard, he did not go home straight away.

      Mrs Wragg said: "It was down to him as and when he felt like visiting
      us. I could not say I could call on him to provide childcare or
      financial support. He did take Jacob swimming sometimes but he was
      not very tolerant of doing family things together."

      The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

      Press Association Tuesday March 1, 2005

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